“Better Call Saul”: a Depiction of Jimmie’s Personal Jekyll and Hyde

Bob Odenkirk in "Better Call Saul"

Watching Better Call Saul Season 4 is the shortest hour of television right now.

Although arguably not that much seems to actually happen in an episode, the Breaking Bad spin-off that everyone’s talking about is some of the best writing and most gripping TV we have seen in a while.

Following the news of his brother’s suicide, Jimmie enters the episode with the same eerily chipper attitude that shocked us at the end of last week. If Chuck’s death has triggered Jimmie’s descent into Saul, then episode 2 is a masterful depiction of what a man looks like when his personal Jekyll and Hyde are at odds.

Unnervingly quick to get back on his feet, Jimmie outwardly decides that he has a responsibility to Kim to get a job so they have enough money coming in. Knowing he can’t go back to law, for the time being, he goes for an interview at a sales company. Watching a sales interview isn’t supposed to be interesting, yet there is something about Jimmie speaking which is captivating even in the context of the mundane. His interview goes alright but on his way out he heads back in to take a further minute of the interviewers’ time and sell himself once more with feeling.

The speech he gives is Jimmie at his best. With a “Ka-Chuunk Ka-Chuuuunk” he blows them both away and convinces them to give him the job there and then, only to turn it down. At this point, we’re staring at our TV’s in frustration wondering what the hell this guy is doing. Sure, sales aren’t what he wants to be doing but why nail an interview only to turn it down and insult the interviewers immediately after? It’s almost as if Jimmie is trying to do the right thing but Saul is whispering in his ear, giving him excuses to say no so that he can have a clear conscience when he phones Mike at the end of the episode to arrange a con instead.

The other big scenes were Kim’s delicious slam dunk when she shouts Howard into the ground and of course, the episode finale when Gus declares ownership of Nacho now that he knows his secret. The lead up to the scene when the Salamanca crew face off against Gus’ men is the kind of tense moment that made us fall in love with Breaking Bad.

So far, season 4 seems to be slowly creeping up to the Breaking Bad timeline but even though we know what happens, the immaculate writing and execution of Jimmie’s character still makes it feel like he could go either way all the while we’re watching him.